The East River was bustling with activity Saturday afternoon as nearly 100 people came out to celebrate the centrepiece of the town and highlight the river as a great asset for activity.
After a small group of people from New Glasgow got together with the goal to highlight the river, the Ride the River event was created. Organizers invited people from all over the county to sign up for a suppertime paddle down the river to Raspberry Island near the Trenton Generating station for some food before paddling back to the marina.
“It definitely surpassed our vision,” said Lia Lewis, one of the event organizers. She said they had not anticipated such a great turnout for the event but were thrilled with the interest in the river. As far as Lewis knows, this is the first event of this kind in Pictou County to celebrate the river.
Around 3 p.m. kayaks, canoes, paddle boards and more started being offloaded from vehicles and prepped for launch for the event. By 4 p.m. all of the boats had been launched into the river and as they arrived on the other side of the bridge from where they launched at Rotary Park, the paddlers held a rope to help stay in place as they listened to speeches and a send off from Mayor Nancy Dicks.
The group paddled off to Raspberry Island, about three kilometres away, to enjoy a barbecue before eventually heading back to the marina for some entertainment.
“It was very positive, I think people were excited,” said Lewis about those signing up for the event. She added that they would like to make the event an annual one and add to it next year as well. “We’re definitely hoping it grows, we’d like to see a competitive part to it.”
Canoes and kayaks floated around in the East River while waiting for the Ride the River event to start Saturday.
INSET: Marian Mikkelson buckles herself into a flotation device as she gets ready to hit the river for the first Ride the River event. (Brimicombe photos)